Tag Archives: healing

From Healing to Happiness

What amazes me about our body-minds is how much we are buikt to heal and to restore our balance. Often it’s not clear what the issues are or how to address them, but things become clear as we persevere and work with the body-mind.

I don’t believe that the purpose of life can be just healing. It seems insane that certain situations may happen to us, break us, and then we just live out our lives to heal what has been broken. While sometimes it may be necessary to dedicate portions of our time here to healing, it is unreasonable to accept that this is all our lives will be about. It is more likely that healing (self-discovery and recovery) and expression will happen in parallel, one process supporting and enriching the other.

I found it astounding, with everything that we know, how little we teach kids about coping skills. There are very few schools with a social-emotional (SEL) curriculum specifically designed to help kids learn about processing and managing their emotions. These kids grow up to be adults who harbor various powerful baggage – often operating unconsciously, which will spill over into every aspect of their lives. Then, these adults will parent their kids. The cycle of ignorance continues and, as a result, many people will lead unfulfilled and reactive lives.

As a teacher, I watch kids daily struggle with anxiety about almost every aspect of their lives with hardly any guidance about how to relate to themselves and others. Schools say it’s their jobs to teach kids academically, but I believe we are all missing the mark about teaching kids basic emotional intelligence skills, which could tremendously elevate our quality of living all over the world. Often I see kids learn these skills ftom a therapist after they already had some form of a serious breakdown, but not before. Kids who manage to quietly hang in there through various trials and tribulations may never learn these skills at all. As adults, they will start browsing self-help books or maybe resort to drinking, drugs, or medications.

As I work on myself and on healing my past trauma, I am also noticing how no one has ever empowered me with basic tools for balancing body and mind through various life events. Even if I didn’t have trauma, I could have benefited from someone teaching me in my childhood how to interact with others, how to listen, how to respond, how to be aware of myself and to self-regulate, and how to balance my needs with the needs of others. I had to learn these things haphazardly throughout life, and usually at points where I felt already broken or have participated in irreparably breaking a relationship.

Healing is a continuum – stuff is always happening, and even the little things must be processed and managed on an ongoing basis. Healing and rebalancing is really a just a normal part of living.

I watched a documentary about anxiety, and it was interesting to learn how many people in our society are at a point where they think that all discomfort in life can and should be avoided. We now often resort to meditation when what is also needed is learning how to adjust our lifestyles and identify/process what we feel.

Trauma gets embedded in the body and proactively suppressed by defense mechanisms, such as depression and anxiety. I didn’t realize this and believed that depression and anxiety were conditions in themselves – not as defense mechanisms for an inability to process and rebalance responses. Interestingly, the first step to healing trauma is strengthening one’s awareness in the present. Because I am not identified with the mind, it turns out to be a simple shift for me to just be here. I was concerned that if I didn’t keep processing my past, I would repress it again, but that’s not the case. It took someone else to tell me that it’s OK to put all that stuff on hold – I won’t forget it again and I don’t have to overtax myself by letting it all flood through me.

I am finding myself feeling such gratitude for the people in my life who have helped me to see what I’ve spent so much energy burying and trying to forget. There is a clear path now to what I need to integrate. We talk a lot about what we need to let go – these can only be things, people, and situations. However, what remains is our responses – and these we must integrate.

I watched another documentary about empathy. What I found interesting there was the research about how kids are naturally predisposed to helping someone in need. Some believe that kids want to be helpful because they get praise or because of some other selfish motive. However, the research showed that even when a child saw someone else help the person in need, and didn’t help directly, that child felt satisfaction.

There is so much that is known about human behavior and motivations. I sincerely hope that more of this information begins to make its way into mainstream school curriculum to proactively teach kids healthy responses to life, and before these kids grow up to be confused and dysfunctional adults.

Inevitably, life happens with all of its ups and downs, and kids need to understand and set appropriate expectations about how to deal with life and relationships in healthy ways. It is easier to feel happiness while being grounded in the present and proactively looking for ways to express our innate creativity. Healing then becomes an ongoing and integrated response, which allows us to braid life as it comes in. Healing, then, does not consume a life as its primary goal.

I look forward to the day when society values life enough to make global lifestyle changes that allow all of us to flow both as individuals and in concert with each other. Then, all children will be educated about the many things we already know about being human and interacting. Then, maybe, people will stop trying to reinvent the wheel about the basics and engage with happiness sooner and continuously.

A Case Of Mistaken Resilience

People told me that I was resilient. When things got tough, I persevered. When situations knocked me down, I found ways to get back up. Life turned me to ash at a very young age, and somehow I came back. Over and over, there would be perceived failure, pain, rejection, and abandonment, but I just continued to redefine and redirect myself.

Moments of strength emerged from seeming eons of weakness, until I realized what was really happening. What appeared to be resilience was actually me outrunning my pain, getting ahead of ever feeling it, and escaping a deepseated conviction of being irreparably broken.

As a child, I learned to escape abuse by studying. Even as I cried and quietly begged to be erased from existence, I buried myself in books. Whatever potential I had I turned exclusively to training and honing my ability to think. When in pain, I resorted to solving math and physics problems. I became incredibly adept at feeling everything and nothing while lost in mental puzzles.

My resilience was a farce. I didn’t have the guts to face what happened to me. Instead, I learned how to dull my pain, detach from feeling, and even dissociate from heartbreak. I was a skinny runt, raped and beaten for years. When I got older and my brother was born, I was simply forgotten and abandoned. To be noticed, which felt like love to me, I had to do extraordinary things. I had to be a superhero, a mountain mover, and unbreakable. So, I trained myself to excel with no tolerance for failure.

What began as a coping mechanism turned into an obsession. I effectively internalized being “faulty” and unlovable, and invested all of my energy into cultivating performance – competitive piano, martial arts, yoga, math and physics, technological expertise, writing, public speaking, and innovating stale processes in corporate settings. I was compensating. I was faking success. Until I began to break down. It was inevitable.

My first repressed memories tore through their cocoons in my early twenties. Reliving my past put me in shock. After coming to, I doubled my efforts to hide my true ugliness. I must have been horrible to have had such horrible things done to me. Memories and flashbacks continued to bleed through even as I fought harder to keep them at bay.

This past year, another wave of repressed memories engulfed me. But this time, I knew what was happening and was onto my tried-and-true methods of escape. This time, I didn’t want to run or hide or distract myself. I just gave into the reality of my past. My previous ways of coping helped me to survive an untenable situation, but they would not help me to heal. This much was clear.

So, I gave up trying to hide and deny the brutality of my past. Looking back, I can now recognize the times in my life where I responded to life in flashback mode. I didn’t know that I was having flashbacks at the time, but I can see it now. I was seeing the present through the narrow lens of the past – small, terrified, and ashamed. I was “back there” without realizing it. This is PTSD….

For several months now, I have been studying my flashbacks and reliving old pain. The light is there to support me. Some days it feels like I may drown in this ocean of pain, but I know I won’t. I threw myself into the kiln once again and fully conscious of what used to lie beneath.

It occurred to me a number of times that I could feel sorry for myself and just give up. However, I don’t feel that it’s really possible for me. Something keeps me going even when I want to just…stop. Maybe it’s different this time because I no longer feel like my life belongs to me. Maybe it’s because I am not attached to any self-image. Maybe I know full-bodily that the only way is through.

I admit that it’s pretty rough right now. I’m not quite sure how I am managing a job, two kids, and my Masters program while also doing this healing work. I want to get through this and have no idea how long it will take.

I know things are improving because I find myself happily being a nobody. No ambition. No need to excel or move mountains. It’s quiet in the eye of the storm. I feel a quiet love even as I am being dismantled at the atomic level.

When Going Through Stuff

I haven’t written much of late. Not because I’ve had nothing to say, but because I’ve had too much to say – incoherent, disorganized thoughts and feelings, bouncing around like fire flies in the dark. The light is relentless when it comes to healing. Once the light is in charge, it has the power to dislodge one completely from impacted existence and pave new roads at the same time as one walks.

I am at the part of my journey where a confluence of events with roots in trauma and drama have come to fruition. I’ve written many times that enlightenment is a beginning of putting together the unique puzzle that is our life and discarding useless ills and hurts barraging our subconscious. So much awareness building had already occurred.

For the past six months, I’ve been reliving childhood trauma that I mostly repressed. Officially, I have a diagnosis of CPTSD that has impacted my life even long after the trauma was over.

I thought I had a good handle on my past until I visited closely with my stuffed memories now coming to the surface daily. Last week, I cried for the first time in months – releasing and releasing pain, shame, images, and felling flashbacks. I forced myself to talk about what happened to me in detail. Something I never dared do. PTSD changes brain chemistry. CPTSD is more damaging as it is the result of prolongued trauma.

I used to think that isolating myself was undesirable. That’s what everyone says, anyway. Now I see the wisdom of distancing myself from everyone who can’t or won’t understand and, most importantly, accept. I’ve learned that only those in the same boat can row it in sync. Those who don’t know trauma can only intellectually grasp what it may mean.

Now, I see that isolation can be healing – a time to take care of myself and my children. I don’t have to explain anything to deaf ears or rationalize “why” to those who can’t grasp. But, I can give myself what I need to get through this at the pace I can handle.

For most of my life, I over-functioned. I did a lot of things. In some cases, made a lot of money. It’s only my 10th year after enlightenment, and I learned from my teacher that it takes about 10 years or so to clear the body-mind of debris. Well, here I am now, digging at the roots that bound me. It may take me longer given my beginnings.

It’s so obvious now how many moments I lived through the lens of flashbacks. It took me time to learn to distinguish flashbacks from in-the-moment responses. This was the most difficult breakthrough. After that, most events in my life fell into place. I understand myself better than ever. I understand why I have been gradually falling apart physically in the past 6 years – because I was trying to hold back the dam of trauma from engulfing my life, even as the pressure built.

During these months, dear friends reached out and extended help to me, which I never expected. It was an awakening for me that I was not really “on my own.” I do have people who love me sincerely. Even as my biological family is long gone, there are those who give of themselves and care.

I am grateful that the light cleared all people from my life who have and would continue to hold me back from moving forward. In some ways, it feels like starting from scratch. A new lens on life, free from cloudy vision, tends to turn everything on its head and signal a new beginning.

I’ve healed many things already – for me, there was a lot. I trust that I will heal this too, even if it does seem sometimes like the flashbacks – visual and emotional – will never go away. Once the brain chemistry kicks in, I can control reliving painful moments or watching them from the side (as if they were happening to someone else).

Enlightenment is just a reset button for identifying with only the Divine. The body-mind then has no choice but to align to that energy even it feels like being torn apart at the seams.

I keep being told that what happened to me was not my fault. I know it wasn’t. But it did leave me broken. When I was falling apart and reached out to the people closest to me, telling them that something was wrong and I was unraveling, they turned away from me.

I am OK with the fact that I was broken and damaged. It’s facts. I am OK that those closest to me didn’t hear my cries for help when I was drowning in the loops of reliving my experiences. But I think the worst is over. The purge that was needed is almost complete.

My teacher used to say that it’s important to heal before enlightenment, because after is very intense – the light just does what it does and not necessarily what we can handle. I drew the after straw. I am at the point where ecstacy and pain can coexist to eventually work themselves out.

I wrote this to say that perfection does not exist. Enlightenment is a process, just like the body-mind. Once the light is engaged, one must hand over life completely to it.

Restorative Awake

Sleep is restorative, balancing our physiological processes and brain function. Until this day, I saw no way to restore my being to balance because even deep sleep does not serve the same purpose for me anymore. Because I had no answers for how to regain my health so that I could be fully here, I just resigned to the potential for the rest of my life to be one of great discomfort.

But, when I was talking to a friend today about the potential imbalances resulting from incorrect giving and receiving, she responded that Buddha spent half of his time in meditation to be able to participate in this world. Later in the evening, I realized that this is what I have been missing – the restorative “awake.”

I crave complete immersion in my state of wakefulness. However, most of my time – for years – has been spent taking care of situations that I have largely outgrown. Somehow, I had moved on but expected that how I function would remain the same. Maybe that’s typical.

My life has been set up such that 2019 is the year when I release my karmic obligations. My divorce will be complete. My legal case to get my son from a prior marriage his college tuition from his well-off father will also be put to rest. I will complete my second Masters degree and will not be pulling all-nighters to do homework. A few other loose ends will be tied up. I can feel the karma unwinding and releasing me to truly live. This is exciting!

If it were not for my friend talking about Buddha meditating, I don’t know how much longer it would have taken me to make the connection that I can be alive here and I need ample time in my nonphysical bodies.

I am no longer built to continuously attend to this world, stealing occasional hours to engage in what is now more natural for me. This is why I have been physically breaking down. I am so grateful for this understanding.

Illnesses are indicators of an imbalance and bring us to attention to opportunities we ignore. There is no manual for how to live an easy, carefree life – we all have different requirements for our existence. What I have been missing is time to be in my true form, which is barely physical. It is not deep sleep, but an awake state of complete immersion in being.

In the meantime, I will still be caring for my children and the students I teach. To be able to give what I can and wholeheartedly want to give here, I need to have the time to spend in a state of restful wakefulness – where every cell of my body is cradled by the sparks of creation and I am unhindered by physical form. It is so simple!

I am glad that my previous situations will stop running my life and, instead, I will be able to rightfully claim my existence in freedom while still in the body.

Years ago, a teacher told me that I should not be hiding in a monastery, and challenged me to be in the world. I also knew, in my heart of hearts, that I had to be among people and sharing myself with them. I just didn’t know how that would work, given that I daily felt like I was swimming in mercury. Yet, it was obvious that my customary way of engaging with reality was not going to work.

When our eyes close, sometimes something altogether new is being made ready to be seen…

What Is Healing?

The story of healing is as rich and complex as our existence. I went into writing this post to access the deeper meaning of this common term and its relationship to life.

What struck me when I asked the question is the intensity of the information I began to navigate experientially. It is amazing to me how intricately healing is tied into existence as an emergent force.

Healing includes the idea of “fixing” something to work differently. Typically, healing is seen as a highly personal process where we allow ourselves to be restored in some way. If a condition was accelerating the end of our life, healing slows down that process. If our body ceases to perform a function or was born without it, we try to get it to function. As magical as is the ability to repair our bodies and quiet our minds, this is not all there is to healing.

Healing is related to form and function, or relationship, as far as my “eye” could see. The form or pattern of energy determines how it relates to other patterns of energy. From this perspective, healing is about restoring the form of energy flow that leads to integration. Thus, healing also takes place in a dimension unseen by our physical eyes where such energy exists and operates among and as all forms. This unseen energy is what some call the Astral dimension and can see quite vividly.

Note, I use the term energy as just a label for interactions that occur a step beyond the physical realm and without intending to use it the way scientists define energy. Here, I mean the flow, which intuitives feels when they do body work, for example.

Astral energies are akin to a webwork of vortexes – moving, interlocking, letting go, merging, separating, and reforming into various configurations from individual to planetary to galactic scales. On some scales, the Astral plane appears quite dynamic, and on other scales (as we think of “size”) patterns remain static for millennia. Many occult symbols are formations in the Astral plane, and these do change eventually. This is similar to the way the storm on Jupiter has maintained its shape that is now seen to be diminishing.

When I practiced yoga with a teacher, she would often say to me that it looked like my body was “looking” for equipoise while I held a pose. Those words resonate with what I see now as individual bodies, our planets, and our star working their way toward equipoise. Although, the universe seems to be doing something different at other scales.

Energy reconfiguration is healing – different parts are looking to relate to each other and to the whole. On this Astral plane, I see my body much like a solar flare, and energy shoots through it from individuals, groups, nations, the planet, and so on. I feel the entire relationship shifting, balancing, and integrating. The Astral plane is highly interconnected with our physical relationships and, often, it may be hard to tell what’s going on where. People often react to Astral stimuli without knowing it.

Beyond Astral matter are completely different dimensions and processes that are not focused on “unwinding wound springs,” and instead jump to the creative unknown. This is healing too! On that level, the universe has no idea about “desired outcomes” and nothing is broken. And, yet there is impetus to creatively revisit relationships in ways previously not done. It is from these levels that we feel the ignition to learn to be aware and awaken to reality, and the yearning to be present with existence in a timeless moment. Occasional bridges form between our embodied consciousness and these rarefied realms. After enlightenment, an aspect of the body actually become a living, stable gateway spanning realms.

Although these are just words, they are intended to conjure a feeling of what is potential but not yet revealed. This process of revelation is healing on higher levels.

Taking this broader view, healing is beyond the personal. In my last post, I talked about “healing,” but I did not realize until later that what is occurring for me may not be typical. For example, my being is consciously tied into reality on different levels, and – when I say I am healing – I do not mean that I am realigning my body and mind to a more peaceful state so that I can be calm and at ease. I do mean that I am plugged in to those who may also need to “heal,” and they dance with me into new awareness. My healing, despite the word “my,” is not personal.

Masters have come here to serve as dynamoes for healing collectives and networks of consciousness at various levels of existence. Not all of this activity has resulted in seemingly peaceful, comfortable, and pleasant living for humanity. We forget the possibility that, at some point, a being may not be a person, but is facilitating universal processes – some of which may translate to everyday terms and experiences. Many have come to do this and now are gone – they do not need any godly status.

Even the most common is extraordinary when viewed from a deeper and interconnected perspective of our miltiple dimensions of consciousness.

Healing Continues

Just because I survived in life does not mean I’ve “overcome” the trauma. For some time now, I’ve been waiting for the next stage of healing to begin. I’m very happy that the time has come when I can finally see how the pieces fit.

I grew up feeling unsafe everywhere. The violence and humiliation I endured became an intricate pattern in the fabric of my being – the sountrack of ominous tones playing throughout my life until I could no longer hear it.

It doesn’t matter what happened to me or over how long. What matters is how my being became tangled up as a result. Old hurts – especially ones that get blocked out and then triggered back to memory later in life – can drift in a person’s field for an entire lifetime without being healed.

After a certain point in my transformation, the energies that cannot coexist with the light were dumped into the cells of the physical body all at once. We can only heal through the body, but usually energies gradually flow to be processed by the physical circuitry. In my case, the energies just crashed into the body. This is why it is helpful to become enlightened after most of the major healing work is done.

Finally, after this weekend, I could locate the energy of the past trauma. This is a good sign because it means that it is ready to be released. I could finally feel it running through the body without feeling like it is a part of the body. It was foreign to me and, thus, palpable and visible.

I could see how I’ve lived most of my life as if I were in the midst of battle – studying martial arts, feeling like I was unsafe, and never letting my guard down. I honed a projection of “Don’t fuck with me” that radiated anytime I perceived a threat. I was caught in a loop of never wanting to feel helpless and humiliated again. So I donned a battle armor that literally fused with my skin. I kept up the fight even after the events that started my war were over.

When friends hear about the my life, they tell me that I endured more than anyone they know. They say I am a survivor, I am strong, and I have achieved so much despite many obstacles. But, surviving is not the same as healing. I am grateful that my finely crafted battle armor is now detached from my body. It will burn up now in the fires of life and I gladly let it go.

Trauma was hard to accept for me because, where I came from, people died if they were weak. Accepting trauma seemed like the exact opposite to being a warrior or a soldier. However, I learned that surrender to integrating our experiences is far from weakness – in fact, trapped energy is released in that process to provide strength, just like atoms release energy during fusion.

Life stressors would trigger and amplify my latent trauma, and I would gradually start crumbling under the pressure to continue functioning. This was cyclical throughout my life. Even after transformation, I would often feel drained and experienced chronic physical pain – while simultaneously laughing and supporting others. I was a walking paradox. Enlightenment can only heal so much. The rest must be done by working directly with the physical body.

I am in the midst of the healing process now. Unlike in the past, I am comfortable walking alone. I know that no one can really help me heal – I will help myself by energetically reliving what I tried to forget. I am no longer afraid of feeling that helplessness.

Life has many processes going on at different scales and planes of existence. I imagine these as a multitude of clocks running at different rates in a clock-maker’s shop. But “Time heals all” is not quite true. Death is an altogether different practice that helps us to integrate and heal, but this process occurs out of time. Sleep also heals and so does nature. Sometimes even a change of location can be healing. Among these, the body itself is the most intense crucible that untangles stagnation. We heal the body, and the body also heals us. However, the body must be allowed to heal us, and we often we resist what the body naturally wants to do – restore us to our innocence.

There Are No Absolutes In Real Life

I saw the quote below on social media. I see many quotes like this. I believe these kinds of quotes somewhat miss the mark about life.

Surround Yourself With…

We don’t and can’t always choose who surrounds us. The reality is, we wake up every day and some people just surround us.

We may have our families, friends, people who don’t understand or like us, people who do like us, coworkers, and passerbys. Everyday. The whole mix.

We can certainly cherrypick in who we invest most of our time. For those who live in small towns or villages, at some point we may run out of cherries. We’d still be surrounded by people – whether or not we choose to interact with them. We can also choose to be alone, but are we ever really alone?

Certainly, we can cut off dysfunctional relationships that drain us. However, we can also ask ourselves how we can relate to a wider group of people, without having to get personal or intimate. What if we just related to people without talking about our needs, expectations, and wants? What if relating to others became more about being open to differences and being ourselves?

Asking for people who push you to be better – or do anything else for you – is having an agenda. “If you don’t push me to be better, you are not worthy of being in my life.” Please. We’re all here together to work things out, and what we deem important changes often. Some people change faster, and others change more slowly. But, we all change.

It takes quiet attention, reflection, and the willingness to surrender our biases to relate to different people. We don’t have to sign contracts to see who can get what for their trouble. How can we learn to love if we can’t even see each other for who we are?

No Drama or Negativity

In which universe is that even possible? Not in this one…Not at this time…

What we call drama and negativity is really all of us working stuff out. When people are working out their understanding of life, there is likely to be friction, confusion, and the need to broaden our perspectives.

Reality is messy – the opposite of a clutter-free home with trifolded towels. We are not taught how to handle a mess. Do we walk away? Do we clean it up? Certainly, watching and learning from a mess is also an option. We often react to a mess with lots of emotion, but we can also reach a point when emotions are quiet in any situation. What do we do when we know we can neither walk away nor clean things up?

When a scientist, engineer, or mathematician is working on a problem, there’s writing everywhere – even on napkins. It takes multiple approaches to see our struggles more clearly, and to understand what it is within ourselves that is creating drama.

I think it would be good if people stopped judging drama and negativity because no one can ever say that they have themselves and life completely figured out.

We can practice handling and coping with tense situations in healthier ways. We can learn how to listen even when we don’t like what we hear. We can learn how to ask others to talk about their feedback, whatever it may be.

Over time, there is less and less confusion about oneself. That helps. There is less reaction to people’s viewpoints, and more interest and curiosity. Until then, we can study how to engage with life – beyond just fight or flight.

Higher Goals, Good Times, and No Hate

The highest “goals” I ever found was to learn to see others as they see themselves, and also to see others as if they were already awake. Why would these goals be “high” goals? In my case, I wanted to see beyond my own perspective (which I knew was biased), and I wanted to understand others and life better.

Until we learn more about who each other is, there will be hate.

I understand hate as a kind of intense disgust, rejection, and turning away from another life.

Often people hate what they don’t understand or what threatens them. Since we don’t really understand each other or ourselves, we won’t feel safe. Thus, hatred is not going away any time soon.

It’s better to come clean when we hate, rather than pretending to be beyond it. It’s better to see our anger and fear than to project a saintly glow, which is likely to be fake.

But, we don’t have to act on everything we feel. Just studying our life and what turns us off is interesting in itself. Our reactions reveal something to us about who we are in relation to our lives. Often, such revelations cause us to let go more into the truth that lies hidden beyond who we want to be.

Simply Bringing Out the Best

We’ll be kinder and gentler around some people more than others. We’ll drive some people crazy and put others at ease. People will trigger each other unconsciously toward whatever they already believe about themselves. Often, certain self views are easier to stomach than others.

There is nothing simple about seperlatives. We have no clue what is best or worst. All we can see is that some stimuli make us uncomfortable and others put us at ease. Are we here to just make each other comfortable? Well, that contradicts challenging each other to be our best. Even what is best is subject to interpretation. Best for whom or what? For how long? Do we aim to be mostly comfortable with just a smidge of discomfort? Or mostly uncomfortable with a smidge of comfort? Does it matter?

It’s Appropriate That the Meme Was in B&W

It’s our nature to look for patterns and draw well-bounded conclusions. However, it is not yet second-nature for the human race to be deliberate and slow in how we listen, observe, and study our view of reality.

There really isn’t a best way to live. We are different and we can only live our lives to see what we are made of. If we change, the change will be a natural progression for us.

During a vulnerable moment, I considered changing for someone to make them more comfortable around me. Soon, I saw that it was both impossible and undesirable.

I have and am already changing. I’ve moved away from being able to have 1-1 intimate relationships. So what? There isn’t one right way to live, and I have no reason to force myself to be someone I am not. I’m grateful this is clear to me now, and I am also grateful that my life lets me meet many different people where I practice being who I am. I am happy that life set me up to learn that I am never alone and that it is OK for all people to try and learn who they are.

Self-Esteem: Ego or Enlightenment?

Self-esteem, from an ego perspective, consists of three distinct processes: continuously forming an identity, evaluating an identity (comparing), and then maintaining and protecting one’s identity. These processes have operated in humanity for thousands of years and literally determine how alive or real a person feels:

  • “Who am I?”
  • “Do I have value?” (relative to others)
  • “When my identity is threatened, I must defend it at all costs.”

The stronger the identity, the more reinforcement it requires, and the more alive the person feels when the ego is well fed. It is fragile and delicate, but also vicious.

People who have developed a strong positive view of self have a very strong will to exercise their confidence in the world. They want to achieve things, have ambition, take risks to try new things, and are driven by failures as opportunities for growth. Such people are deemed successful by society, where success is measured by one’s potential to make life work out – productive career, enjoying work, accumulating wealth and status, being surrounded by those who love and even adore us, and being recognized for our achievements. Maybe these personas will project an image of not needing others to validate them, but they are constantly looking for the world to say “You’ve done good!” and, maybe, “I envy you.”

People with a strong negative self view define themselves to be limited, are unable to see their potential, and perceive setbacks as further validation that life does not work – perhaps, life can never work. Paradoxically, such people are constantly seeking positive recognition, but focus exclusively on what they consider their failures to reinforce the belief that they are doomed to fail. They live as if the deck is always stacked against them, develop a persona to mask their insecurities, and take action out of fear that they will be ultimately exposed as fake. Such people hide from life to avoid exposure, which is severely painful and embarrassing to them.

In reality, a person identifies with both positive and negative aspects. Interestingly, when the self is threatened or confronted by life situations, the ego will take over a seemingly nice person and they are transformed into a creature that is driven by pure fear. The person lashes out, behaves like a cornered animal, exercises tactics of dominance and manipulation, and wishes destruction upon anyone challenging or exposing their fragile self-view. There is also a high degree of paranoia that blindly projects one’s intentions onto anyone who opposes the egoic position.

During a confrontation or a heated situation, an ego loses the capacity to discern which part is itself vs. which part is owned by someone else. It equates love and support with those who reinforce its walls, and equates a threat with those who confront it. Ego wants to feel power and force, but these are fleeting and must be constantly fed.

From an ego-free perspective, the ruffled ego is self-absorbed, defensive, offensive, and an expression of fear. Enlightenment is difficult for ego to even imagine because the ego has such a strong compulsion to defend itself at all costs – it is a very strong and stable process, hardwired in humanity to do what it does. What is most striking is that ego has such a limiting effect on a being that it is painful to watch. It’s as if someone found a penny on the street and fights off others from taking it away using heavy artillery.

Ego creates karma, and egolessness unwinds karma and catalyzes healing.

There is a myth that an enlightened being must give everything away and give in to the wishes of others – if one is not attached, why have anything? However, while living on Earth and in a body, no life can continually give of itself and survive. In fact, acts of martyrdom are typically unnecessary because Life wants us to live and to express. An enlightened being will balance giving and receiving what is needed to sustain one’s life and ability to shine. In other words, such a being will sometimes be called to fight for his or her life (and the lives for whom this being is responsible) because life is a valued treasure. However, at the core, there is no attachment to the outcome – just complete surrender to that which lives the body.

This lack of passivity in enlightened beings is very difficult for egos to understand and can be misinterpreted to be just another ego. I think that most people expect enlightenment to be about giving away all of one’s possessions and walking around and begging for food. An enlightened being will do so only if necessary, but will also gladly accept a life of comfort. If there is no comfort and begging is a necessity, there are no tears about it.

While there is no attachment to any situation, the enlightened being will not just give everything away – there is none of “Take whatever you need and go.” That is a denegration of life: like the tree that bears fruit and all come and strip it bare without caring for it at all, taking the fruit and the tree for granted.

Fighting for life is appropriate and is not a sign of unenlightenment. Such a fight will look for ways to end a battle in a way where all are healed.

Conversely, fighting as ego – as an identity – is a limiting endeavor. Because an ego feels little to nothing beyond the things and people that sustain it or threaten it, the ego is like a rabid animal that bites and gnaws and relishes in pain – it could care less about all coming out of the battle healed. The flared ego has no empathy – no capacity to understand others or to take a big-picture view of a situation. The ego only sees itself in everything and everyone.

The ego will refuse to recognize a free being because that would be its certain death, and it must prevail. The free being must tango and tussle with egos, handle the attacks, but is fundamentally immersed in a state of peace, awe, and gratitude in Life.

Self-esteem that is based in ego is very different than the value an enlightened being acknowledges of one’s life.

What threatens your sense of self? As long as someone is there to be threatened, self-esteem is just a game of dominance for one’s world view.

A healed life esteem does not seek to harm others and, in fact – wishes to help others heal, but also takes no shit and often pops the fragile bubbles that hold hostage the light within us all.

These messages about life need to go

When we are born and open our eyes, we immediately begin to shape our beliefs about life.

Some messages we receive are blatant – “be careful” (or, “always be on guard”). Other messages are more subtle, like “you must work hard to live” and “mistakes are always punished.”

I’ve taken stock of the nonconstructive messages with which our unconscious may be bombarded – and we can carry these stoways for decades or a lifetime. While an unexamined life is still worth living, examining our underlying beliefs sure makes life easier.

What concerns me most is that our young people are getting these messages much faster now than in previous years, and this can be devastating to forming their identities. What can we do to change this?

Here is a list, based on careful observation and bypassing doublespeak. Some are quotes from songs and burrow in the unconscious faster. The unconscious speaks in life-or-death terms, which is probably due to our survival evolution and self-protection.

  • Happiness is equal to having our basic survival needs met – everything else is gravy.
  • Happiness is being better than someone else.
  • Happiness is found in distraction from real life (if we can’t be better than others).
  • We will seldom or never do what we truly like.
  • We are born to work hard until we die.
  • Fight for everything or die. Dominate, or be dominated.
  • Everyone is replaceable.
  • There is never enough of what we need.
  • No one will ever accept us for who we really are.
  • No one cares about our lives, even if they pretend to.
  • Unconditional love is impossible.
  • We are fundamentally flawed.
  • We are ugly.
  • We are stupid and incompetent.
  • We lack creativity.
  • We are broken.
  • Our lives are meaningless and we are worthless.
  • Mistakes are not allowed – on any level.
  • We are fundamentally and always alone.
  • Trust no one.
  • Fear everything.
  • We live on borrowed time. There is never enough time.
  • Intergity is overrated – it gets you in trouble. Lying is easier.
  • Nothing is our bithright, except suffering. (“There’s no such thing as free lunch, unless it’s trash.”)
  • Only the good die young and are free of this prison.
  • Life is hell. Shit always happens.
  • Live for today and don’t think about tomorrow.
  • The only true gift is sensual pleasure – party as much as you can.
  • Feel nothing to feel no pain.
  • We don’t deserve to be truly happy.
  • When life gets you down, get back up – but don’t expect it to be any different.
  • There is no free will, and we don’t get to choose anything of consequence (except maybe the flavor of our cereal).
  • Life is a slow death.
  • Aging is to be avoided.
  • Only a few chosen ones can serve as an intermediary between the Divine and us.
  • Look forward to death because something better awaits us on the other side. The dead are “in a better place.”

Many people don’t realize what they actually believe deep inside until they take the time to unravel what lies beneath. Imagine having self-denigrating and often-contradictory beliefs driving your choices (which you do have) and actions. Self-sabotage is so common – why is that?

The truth is – when you do realize that all of the above are fundamentally unnecessary to living here and now, you are free here and now. Until then, a practical vision of a happy humanity is all but impossible.

So, how do we begin to unravel this mess? More importantly, what evidence is there that alternatives are possible? Yes, many people talk about achieving health and wealth, but we may think that they are charlatans or just lucky….Also, is pure wealth what anybody wants, or is it just a means to an end? Often we want or believe something, but stop short of understanding why.

I believe that the solution lies deeper than trying positive thinking and gimmicks to make a fast buck. We need a paradigm shift at a very fundamental level to dismantle the systems that have taken over our lives – and we have already outgrown them.

First and foremost, the people close to us have much power over our subconscious. Parents, partners, and close friends regularly catalyze us to accept beliefs without questions. We internalize who we think we are based on the reflections others project onto us because we trust the relationship, no matter how dysfunctional. Perhaps parenting, relationships, and frienship education should be freely available to all aiming to live sane lives.

Can we believe that getting our basic needs met is our birthright – especially with all the breakthroughs we have achieved to date? It’s not a stretch. We are not hunters and gatheres anymore – why do we think like them? Perhaps because our safety and survival is not a given – still. It is amazing that many people continue to resort to fear tactics and manipulation to block our transition into a safe world. Homelessness, hunger, and deep poverty are unnecessary. Economic status (to secure these basic human rights) is not sane. We are still so focused on survival, but – barring natural cataclysms – is it still necesary? And the organized bullies of the world – how are you still allowed to operate and commit atrocities with all our military might? At which point does a nation or religious group square away that it is the most worthy of the Divine, when we all come from the same source?

Can we believe that we should have more leisure time? Of course. The increase in automation has already made many jobs obsolete, and the trend will just continue. Of course Universal Basic Income is the next step – but how can we implement this without further becoming enslaved?

Can we accept that every life has intrinsic value? That’s tough when we are taught that everyone is expendable and replaceable. So, our value system has to grow up and mature. Not accepting that life is precious with opportunity to be free in wisdom may also be the reason we hate ourselves and dread our lives. Please don’t genetically engineer us! Go sell that someplace else – we are all stocked up here!

Can we believe that education can evolve into a new structure that supports unique gifts and nurtures inherent strengths? I have visions of how learning could be catalyzing to individuals, but this vision cannot be fulfilled by online learning alone. Social (face-to-face) contexts must continue for us to remain a society. However, it is no secret that Bill Gates and others want to see all education go online. No, we must continue to see and talk to people with the fundamental heartset that everyone has value. Teachers would not only engage the learning of ideas, but also guide social learning – so that we build a healthy view of fully individualized life and interactions. To be and work together, and to be fulfilled, many have to unlearn their knee-jerk reactivity that stems from the unexplored unconscious.

Can we learn that our bodies have the ability to restore health beyond pharmaceuticals? Most countries do, but these don’t have such an active pharma and processed food/drink/agricultural industry. In fact, when the US lands in developing countries, such as Mexico, they quickly degenerate in health and quality of life. And this fact is documented. Those who resist the KFC’s and Coca Cola‘s, for example, are threatened to fear for their lives.

Today, I watched a video on Prime called The Science of Fasting. Yesterday, I watched a TED talk on battling cancer with sound waves. However, such information is generally muted by the “ask your doctor” commercials about taking drugs.

In fact, we may need to learn more about how advertsing works to better understand the world and self views, which ads may promote. Many skillfully bypass our conscious processes and lodge directly in the unconscious.

It’s time we accept the truth that if something is possible and probable and serves those with influence, it is being done – even if it rejects basic sanity and care. It is very possible for food and drug companies to continuously sell to us and use powerful advertising techniques, which literally make us believe that they have our best interests while playing on our insecurities. In fact, disease is good for business! It is very possible and probable that these businesses do not value us at all and use us. Industries themselves have not yet matured to realize that they are useful only some of the time – but such a paradigm is not good for profits or power.

What we can do immediately is ask ourselves “What do I really believe?” and “Where does this belief come from?” It’s a start to becoming free of acceding to systemic influences. Maybe, like me, you’ll find that most of your beliefs have to go. When the cupboard is empty, please fill it with truth and self value….

Fighting the Self-Hatred Epidemic

***After I pulsed out the original version of this post, I got feedback. Thank you for the questions. It is important to get this right – I learn from you every day.***

There is an epidemic spreading and taking root in the West. It is subtle and nearly invisible in some cases, and more blatant in others. Most importantly, there is a cure, but this cure requires us to recognize the epidemic in the first place. If we are not afflicted, then we can try to help others as best we can.

When the New Age movement started, many fine authors talked about the importance of self-love. There was a stir in the Western world to become more gentle with oneself, to heal the inner child, and to learn to set boundaries with inappropriate behaviors and people. This was good. What is so important about self-love anyway, besides a better quality of life?

It turns out that self-love is not just an emotion or a feeling. Instead, it is an actual configuration of the physical and more subtle nervous systems to receive and be able to hold Spirit in form. Without self-love we literally reject uniting with Spirit and we block Its connection to, through, and as Us. Alternatively, even if we achieve Union, our nervous system can literally fry from this energy if it is unprepared to hold It. There are many pathways to Union with Spirit – there have to be – but the milestones of levels of freedom or degrees of Union appear to be similar. I am not just talking about Kundalini energy here – raising Kundalini energy is no guarantee of enlightenment.

Now the self-hatred epidemic is running rampant again. We had received doses of an antiobiotic, but then built immunity. There are forces at work in this world that have an interest in devolving the majority of the human race, and these forces have been working in new, different, and more conniving ways to manipulate people to accept self-hatred as the norm – and even believe that they feel self-love while engaging in self-loathing. This may not apply to you because you see through it, I understand, and yet there are many caught in this net at this time.

Who or what would wish to sabotage the human race in this way? Think about it…. An enlightened global community is very dangerous to those who believe the world population must be controlled – and enlightened beings are fundamentally free and happy (i.e., not controllable). The easiest way to keep developed populations down is by instilling hidden belief systems that one is fundamentally flawed and screwed up the core, unworthy, guilty, crazy, and just generally meaningless. There are entire theses in think tanks about how to manage world dynamics! Of course there are…. While people go about their daily lives, there are those who carefully deliberate how to generate stability and instability in various communities at various times to achieve control.

One would think that such a negative framework pervading social structures would drive mass majority to suicide, but that is not the case. Instead, it lulls the population into a kind of low- or mid-grade depression, inertia, and various autoimmune responses, OR the perversion of self-love as narcissism, racism, and other forms of “better-than-you”-isms. Both ends of the spectrum are breeding-grounds for separation at the Soul level, fueled by increased distractions that take one away from the simple core idea that one can achieve Union with Spirit and embody It uniquely with full consciousness of the Whole.

Thousands of years ago, yogis attained enlightenment in caves and on river edges, under trees and while sitting on wild grass. They discovered that the human nervous system was capable of a transformation that would ignite all form with Spirit to manifest a new kind of life that would emphasize our creative potential, making fear and the fight for survival obsolete. However, there are those who want to make enlightenment impossible for the human race by destabilizing the psyche, overwhelming people with work or the lack of work, monopolizing people’s attention with distractions, and ultimately damaging our nervous systems to make us permanently unable to feel the flow of Life. Yes, imagine that our nervous systems become so rigid to change and numbed by fear that we become trapped as fragmented consciousness in matter until the world simply winds down – which it will, some day. In other words, we will begin to forget more and more that we are fragments of One Spirit AND be completely convinced that we have achieved full potential at the same time! That is the worse case scenario – not knowing that we don’t know.

We must fight for our lives and sanity from a place of peace to be truly available to pure intention and attention, and resist the urge to fight from a place of anger and sadness. We must, once again, build reminders into our day to choose self-kindness and use these moments to invite Spirit in and embrace It. Once again, we must find good counselors to heal various traumas and let these go. When we are bombarded with messages to fear for our lives, we must flick a switch to choose relationship to every aspect of our lives, to forgive ourselves, and to let go into simple being. This is a moment-by-moment practice, relentless and filled with heart-felt yearning.

Another result of the lack of self-love is the desire to escape. The opiode epidemic is only one example. Besides drugs and alcohol, there are also emerging belief systems that we are shifting into a new Earth (and leaving the “unready” behind). But there is just this Earth – this one right now, and with this you and everything else on it. And if you think about it, is escaping and leaving others behind spiritual, even if it were possible?

The desire to escape suffering and pain is built into the manipulation and prepares masses to become lost in video games and, ultimately, “virtual fiction” reality – possibly removed many levels from this reality. We already see this behavior taking over many people because “it feels better than reality.” Sadly, this trend takes us deeper into the dark well of devolution. We must fight to feel the Sun on our faces, the grass and sand between our toes, and the touch of another’s hand in our hand to remain connected.

True freedom does not require any specific material or life conditions to be happy and awake. Life does not have to work out for you to become free and feel happy. How can it be freedom otherwise? It’s nice when things go well. But things don’t always go well. When stuff happens, does the enlightened state disappear or go on hold? No.

The yearning for enlightenment can die for us if we buy into unconscious self-rejection and escape. This would be tragic when we have the key to a revolution and an unhinged marriage of Spirit and Matter as individual expression. Enlightenment does not require props – only a consistent leap of faith that it is very possible for you, and the intense yearning to break through.

The great news is that the Light is always there and ready for you. It waits, poised for that instant when you accept yourself just long enough for It to get in and stay. You will literally feel a physical sensation of It pouring into the crown of your head and taking hold of the brain stem – and that is only the beginning. It has to stabilize.

There are endless opportunities all day long to yearn, release, and surrender to what lives you. Self-hatred and the Light are like oil and water, and the meditation must become a fight with the total fire of your will to burn through the thicket that falsely guards and separates you from the truth.

The new mantra is that “all the truth is within.” Sure, but we may not be able to understand it or even misinterpret it. Some say “we don’t need teachers – we can do it ourselves.” If it were that easy, we would have all done it by now and be living as a world community of free beings. But this is not the case, is it?

We have to be practical and streetsmart about spirituality for it to continue to be a force for good. For many, this means seeing through self-hatred, the desire to control and dominate, the need to be right, be powerful, be knowledgeable, be smarter, be “good-er.”

We are at a tipping point of falling into deeper illusion or waking up. There are enlightened beings. They just live – mostly incognito. Why are they still here, working hard amidst the dark tragedies, human hardships, and atrocities still going on? Why haven’t they just vanished into the rainbow of the “next level”? After they die, there will be others. But, at some point, the world may reject such beings altogether – it is not easy to be on the Earth plane in a free state, but this does not equate to suffering in human terms.

We can keep the candle of human potential burning by being practical and real with ourselves, questioning everything about our influences and our state, testing ourselves, and rejecting messages that we are flawed or better than others. This will be a fight that can only end in total transformation.

The test for enlightenment is simple – if you do not spend all of your time and during any activity feeling Life, being meditated by Life, and yearning for all to be free, then you are not yet enlightened. If you feel the need to defend or attack anything about yourself, you are not yet awake. If you take pride in what you are, you are not yet happy – because the little you is still there, needing a bigger I. If you need to escape – even as most cry out for help, you are not yet free – free beings tend Unity like a sacred garden. You can have “heaven” in any situation. If you are not living This, you are not yet free.

I often hear the question “Is enlightenment bullshit?” If the torch of true freedom is put out then yes, yes it is….